Why Busy People Need Meditation and Tips to Get Started
Achieving peace and productivity at work can be difficult. Daily we’re faced with a slew of negative emotions. Boredom is common. As are difficult, draining situations and the people we have to deal with in them.
But what if, by taking ten or fifteen minutes out of your day, you could move closer to a calm, productive and balanced working life? Would it be worth it?
Meditation, along with its close cousin mindfulness, is popular these days. So much so that it’s easy to pass it off as a fad. When something is promoted as a cure-all it’s natural (and right) to view it with trepidation. In this post, I don’t want to suggest that meditation will remedy all our ills, but I do believe it can act as a powerful tool for fostering happiness in our daily lives.
Here are three reasons to consider starting, with a short guide at the end.
1. It Will Improve Your Concentration
Meditation can be viewed as a form of concentration “training.” It is, in essence, a period of returning time and again to your chosen object, whether that’s the breath, a word or even a mental image.
This positive quality, the ability to notice you’re distracted and “return” to whatever you’re doing, will transfer over into your daily life. As in a sitting practice, you can begin a task with the intention of staying with it, coming back whenever you notice your attention has drifted to something else.
Another benefit of engaging mindfully with your work is that you’re less likely to fall into distractions. You can notice the inner pull towards an activity and let it pass away. The multi-tasking many of us are used to is utterly useless. If you want to increase your productivity, one of the most potent skills you can foster is the ability to stay with a single task until its completion.
2. It Will Improve Your Ability to Deal With Difficult Emotions
The tendency to approach your inner experiences mindfully strengthens with meditation. In doing this, you create inner space around your feelings. It’s this distance, this ability to experience whatever may arise from a stable and balanced perspective, that loosens their hold on you.
Equally, you can staunch the negative cycle of thoughts before they spiral out of control, simply observing the emotion and allowing it to pass. It doesn’t make it any less painful, but you can stop yourself from falling into despair. Afflictive thoughts can’t propagate when you shine the light of awareness on them.
On another note, scientific research offers some insights into how meditation can improve coping abilities. “Labelling,” a technique that involves mindfully naming emotions, has been shown to have several positive effects.
3. You’ll Be Calmer And More Centered
What if you’re already a creative, centred and naturally compassionate being? What if it’s the strains of life that get in the way? Meditation is about letting go. When we sit down for our ten minute session, we are consciously stepping outside of our ambitions and commitments. It’s in this space that calm can spontaneously arise. In approaching your work from this open-minded perspective you become that much more competent.
Equally, as described above, with time you’ll develop a tendency to notice emotions before they blindly compel you to action. This enables you to respond to any situation in a non-reactive way. The anger still arises, there’s still the pull towards starting a conversation or checking Facebook, but you don’t unthinkingly respond to these impulses. You can do, if you choose. But you don’t have to. You experience the emotions from a centred place.
- Sit with your hands in your lap and your spine comfortably straight.
- Begin by taking a handful of deep, calming breaths. Let yourself loosen with each exhalation.
- Return to a normal breathing pace and let your attention rest on your belly.
- Notice the rising and falling with each in and out breath, and the pauses between each breath.
- Whenever you get distracted, return your attention to your belly and the sensations there.
- Remember that you’re not trying to lead or force your breathing.
Here’s a pinworthy visual for you to share with your friends and family!
So there you have it! What have your experiences with meditation and mindfulness been? Join the conversation and leave a comment below.
Editor’s Note: I am a growing health and fitness enthusiast, and one of the things I am slowly getting into is meditation. Meditation is essential in every career girl’s life for many reasons, that’s why I am so happy to introduce our new columnist, Daniel Zandt of www.stillmind.org. Dan will be sharing meditation and mindfulness advice every other Tuesday here in Ms Career Girl. Hope you enjoyed his first post! – Abbi